How to Be More Productive
We tend to go back and forth on why we should or shouldn't set new year's resolutions. I personally think that mental discipline and setting both professional and personal goals is mandatory for anybody wanting to lead a somewhat balanced life. A new year approaching or not, I always set goals and rules for myself and here are my three tips for setting goals you can actually achieve.
1. Prioritize & Increase Your Focus
You can't have or make more time than there is in a day. That's nothing new. But how about turning the time you have into more focused time? Here's how to do it: write down ALL the things you want to work on, then list them in order of importance. Is there anything that can be outsourced? Is there anything that can be left undone for a day, week, month - move that to the bottom of your list. You'll get to it once you're done with the most important tasks and the overwhelm is gone. And my absolute favorite one - is there anything that seems to be so overwhelming you've categorized it as a someday-when-I-have-more-time task? I think Sam Horn said it best: "Someday is not a day in the week"! Move this one to the very top of your list and start with 10 to 15 super focused minutes a day. And be honest with yourself - you DO have 15 minutes for something you really care about. You'll be surprised at how much progress you can make with just 15 minutes a day.
2. Set 30-day goals, not 365-day goals
Set monthly, not yearly goals and don't plan too far ahead. Sticking to a few rules for 30 days may seem hard, but definitely not as hard as sticking to them for a full year. Get clear on your goals, then set rules for yourself that will get you there. The rules must be very specific so that at the end of the day you know for sure if you sticked to them or not. For example, I will work out for 30 minutes a day 5 days a week. If you happen do end your workout after 25 minutes of jogging - don't cheat. You still have 5 minutes to go. Evaluate your progress at the end of each month and readjust your goals and rules to get even better results the next month.
3. Make your goals realistic
The trick here is to be realistic and come up with goals you can actually achieve if you stick to your own rules. If you already know you will only be able to work out three times a week and not five, that's OK, but make it a rule. You'll get better results if you start with smaller goals and focus on your mental discipline than you would if you started with several beautiful, but vague ideas about what you'd like to accomplish in 2021.
And lastly, don't forget about your personal goals. This one's tricky because you may think those don't matter when you have other people to take care of and one million things going on. But they do matter. Make it a rule to do something you enjoy every single day. And remember - 15 minutes a day counts!